Natural gas hydrate reservoirs are hosted in heterogeneous sediments having variable pore fluid salinity. Questions concerning GH formation, detection and production are being addressed and measured in real time with simple laboratory apparatus. Our vessel is pressurized with methane and monitored with individually calibrated pressure transducers and thermistors. The silt or sand pack is assembled using uniform grain size layers containing ~20% by weight of pore fluids. This results in mixed wettability, with pendant water and initial partial gas saturation. Sand packs consisting of silica silts, sands, and charcoal were selected to emulate the dominant lithofacies observed in the Mallik gas hydrate reservoir. Fluids range from distilled-water to 37ppt salinity. A central needle probe permits the measurements of electromagnetic signals across the specimen. Formation of GH alters the bulk dielectric constant of the mixture, through the conversion of water to gas hydrate crystals and or ice. The infilling of primary porosity by gas hydrate or water ice tends to reduce permeability and increase electrical resistivity, while the expulsion of solutes by hydrate or ice formation decreases resistivity by building a salt bridge along alternate permeability paths. Four methods monitored GH formation and dissociation: 1) Deposition or evolution of gas derived from measurement of the ambient pressure and temperature; 2) Calorimetric measurements of latent heat production by exothermic crystallization and consumption by endothermic dissociation; 3) Time-Domain Reflectometry (TDR) measurement of the velocity of electromagnetic signal propagation and reflections at boundaries in the sand pack; 4) Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), a frequency domain method permitting direct measurement of the resistance and capacitance spectra. Improvements in real time digital monitoring and data analysis have made possible the recognition of TDR reflections previously considered unattainable in the presence of conducting fluids. The independent monitoring methods, with their various temporal and spatial sensitivities, capture the intricate details of GH formation and dissociation as a time series. In more porous and permeable beds, GH formation as evidenced by a coherent pressure drop and thermal pulse precedes the increase in electrical conductivity and dielectric constant. These results are interpreted to be the result of a diffusive pulse of solute exclusion from the GH-bearing layer into neighbouring sediment. Measurable EM effects suggest that borehole EIS, with lower frequency and greater penetration than TDR, may be effective for monitoring the variable position of GH-Methane interfaces during GH production tests.

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